David Paschall: UK's Phillips continuing by request

David Paschall: UK's Phillips continuing by request

November 8th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - Columns

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

OTHER PICKS

Florida St. 31, Va. Tech 10

Miami 20, Virginia 17

N. Carolina 24, Ga. Tech 22

N.C. State 19, Wake Forest 16

Clemson 45, Maryland 7

Notre Dame 38, Boston Coll. 10

Kansas State 20, TCU 19

Oregon 49, California 17

Louisville 27, Syracuse 20

Oklahoma 38, Baylor 27

Oregon State 27, Stanford 24

Nebraska 24, Penn State 19

UCLA 31, Washington St. 22

Southern Cal 35, Arizona St. 29

Texas 27, Iowa State 14

Michigan 24, Northwestern 21

Texas Tech 38, Kansas 19

When Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips held a team meeting Sunday after being fired, he felt there should be a clean break and that someone else should guide the Wildcats next week against Samford and Nov. 24 at Tennessee.

His players disagreed.

"I didn't think I should," Phillips said Wednesday. "I didn't want to be a distraction with Senior Night coming up, and I wanted this thing to be about them. That's what I told the seniors."

Yet the seniors approached Phillips after the meeting, asking him to remain. He also began receiving texts from other players with the same request, so he changed his mind.

Phillips was a receiver for the Wildcats from 1981 to '84 and returned to Lexington as a graduate assistant in the '88-89 seasons. He was a recruiting coordinator, receivers coach and offensive coordinator for Kentucky before taking over for Rich Brooks following the 2009 season.

The Wildcats upset South Carolina in 2010 and reached the BBVA Compass Bowl, but their only victory of note since was last season's 10-7 defeat of Tennessee. That marked Kentucky's first win over the Vols since Phillips was a senior.

Kentucky is 1-9 this season, and only one of six home crowds has been in excess of 50,000. The program has slipped to an all-time record of 579-581-44.

Phillips said his plan at the end of the month is to "let the jets cool off and try not to jump into anything too quick."

Pasquali's Pix:

Arkansas at South Carolina: Nobody was happier to see Bobby Petrino go than Steve Spurrier, who has lost three straight double-digit games to the Razorbacks. Gamecocks 24, Hogs 19.

Missouri at Tennessee: With Justin Hunter, anything is possible. With Sal Sunseri, anything is possible. Volunteers 35, Tigers 30.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida: The Gators haven't looked good offensively since leaving Nashville in mid-October. Gators 30, Ragin' Cajuns 9.

UTC at Wofford: The FCS playoffs will reveal whether this year's SoCon is really balanced or really average compared to past seasons. Terriers 24, Mocs 23.

Texas A&M at Alabama: Who had this among the league's most intriguing games before the season? Crimson Tide 33, Aggies 16.

Georgia at Auburn: Vince Dooley, Ray Goff and Jim Donnan had losing records in the Deep South's oldest rivalry. Mark Richt doesn't have that problem. Bulldogs 34, Tigers 13.

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss: The winner clinches a bowl bid. The loser still has more opportunities. Commodores 20, Rebels 17.

Mississippi State at LSU: A hurting team takes on a hurting team with lots of talent playing at home. Tigers 31, Bullies 10.

Last week:

Winners...................21

Swing states.............4

Pasquali is 189-61 overall (75.6 percent) this season.